Contemporary art in a friendly setting – Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs

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As with love, when art enters your life, it can shake things up, taking your world in new directions and laying out new priorities. This certainly happened in the Dorsky family, which collectively runs Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, an organization that presents independently curated exhibitions of contemporary art in Long Island City.

It all started with Samuel Dorsky, who had been enormously successful as a businessman, then, in 1963, turned to what really interested him – art. Having built over time a sizable collection of modern and contemporary pieces, he opened a gallery, showing and selling works by Henry Moore, Richard Hunt and Willem de Kooning, among others, while building lasting relationships with the artists. 

Before his passing, he established The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. His children, David, Noah, Karen and Sara, in addition to being involved there in various capacities – and to having lives and careers of their own – also created this flexible venue, the Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (DGCP), where they can tap endlessly into the perspectives of globally based curators to exhibit contemporary art.

DGCP in fact came into being in possession of a collection, but instead of focusing on “collecting and preserving” as museums do, the organization’s charter involves giving away a certain percentage of its holdings annually – usually to university museums. This frees it up to concentrate on the new and the now – kunsthalle style – and to exhibit as many different artists as possible. David Dorsky’s wife, Chief Curator of Contemporary Art at the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase, Helaine Posner, had made the suggestion to set DGCP up in this way, with the knowledge that there were far more talented curators in the field than exhibition spaces available for them all to program.

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Despite having this impressive expertise, the Dorskys decided their goal would be to reach out to a broad audience – not just to the scholarly or sophisticated collecting communities – and make what are complicated ideas as accessible and engaging as possible. Since the program is all independently curated, the spectrum of subjects is broad. As a true venue for the art of our time, DGCP does not shy alway from political or otherwise challenging material, although all kinds of themes have been addressed, from aspects of method to intention of message. Anyone is welcome to submit proposals for future exhibitions; the organization has worked with curators, writers and art historians in all stages of their careers, from emerging to established.

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Ariel Dill, Astrology, 2012

On January 13, DGCP opens Donut Muffin, inspired by a highly addictive treat that is made with doughnut dough but baked in the shape of a muffin. The dual nature of the “donut muffin” served as an allegory for works that have been derived from different practices at once, or that evidence one medium in the guise of another – sculpture as drawing, or vice versa – or that mess with our internal hierarchy of materials.

Christian Sampson’s beautiful light sculpture, Projected Form 7 (2012) is constructed from painted Plexiglas onto which light is projected, creating a fluid spray of color. Pam Lins’s Lincoln Bookend Obstruction (2010) collides painting, architecture and sculpture in a combination that is somewhat unsettling to the expectations of the viewer.

Cilnton King’s Confetti you make me cry (2012) is a painting rich in color, shade and texture, and it’s not surprisingly derived from the artist’s practice of rendering found objects as minimalist sculpture. This show was curated by Jessica Duffett, who has a for-profit background in modern and contemporary art, in partnership with New York-based multidisciplinary artist Tamara Gonzales.

The Dorsky family hopes that art can make even a small impact in  your life, and that you’ll stop by and have a meaningful and surprising encounter with something new.

Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, 11-03 45th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11106; (718) 937-6317; GMAP
Hours: Thursday – Monday, 11am – 6pm